At the beginning of the week, I felt a little burnt out from travel. I did a little research on it to validate my state of mind and turns out, it’s very common for many long-term travelers.
I arrived in Cusco yesterday morning and today, I spent the entire day on a Sacred Valley Tour, which went from 9 am to 7 pm. We visited ruins in Pisac, Ollantaytambo (I always have trouble saying this city), and Chinchero. We climbed ruins and our guide Paul gave very detailed historical information on those ruins.
Some moment during the tour, my spirits went from tired to “optimistic”.
It might have been the encounter with the Brazilian girl in the little town of Pisac, selling her home-made chocolate-filled ice-cream cones. In all my travels, I have never seen or eaten such a food before. I asked her what she was doing in Pisac, of all places. She said her plan was to live there for 2 years, “in the mountains because it was so beautiful”. Something about her story lifted my spirits. Maybe it was her bravery. Maybe it was her initiative, selling her little home-made cones to make some money. Our bus had dropped us off for a short break on a street with nothing but cookie-cutter artesenal shops, all next door to each other, selling the same things (clothing, silver jewelry). I was getting sick of these kinds of shops, which happen on every bus tour I’ve ever taken in my life…her appearance, story, and snack was such a breath of fresh air.
I was burnt out because I was beginning to think that everything here in South America started looking the same. The language, the people, the history, the ruins, the hard life people live…but sometimes, I am surprised when I encounter a moment that would seem trivial to most people but in my locker of memories, it was fresh and unique. Those are the stories and moments I live for and continue to seek out.
Oh yeah, the ruins weren’t that shabby either.